If you have ears…

Friday’s at the Teen Center are really cool. We call it Friday Feast. Which just means that we cook something healthy and eat it family style. It is amazing to see how the teens have responded to this. Eating together as a family seems to be a thing of the past and most of the teens really like our Fridays. One of my favorite memories from the Teen Center comes from a Friday Feast, where one young girl looked up at the picture of The Last Supper that’s hanging on the wall, and said something like “Hey that could be us, just hanging out, eating together”. Now in all honesty, I don’t think she said that with much depth and spiritual clarity but we sure have had some cool conversations after that.

Yesterday, we had our Hispanic posse come out for Friday feast. I have really come to love these guys. We had decided to do what we call a field trip, that means that we carry out some couches and chairs right outside the door of the Teen Center. So in the wonderful spring sun light, on some second hand couches and worn out chairs we shared a meal together. Chili and fresh bread, fruit and vegetable smoothies. We got to listen to our Hispanic friends share stories about being treated different because of race. How teachers at school treat them different, how other teens treat them different and it was sad but very rich. I love the fact that the Teen center contains space where this can happen. You can come and lay out whatever is tough in your life and not just receive shallow attempts for easy fixes or unhelpful attempts to brush things under a rug. You will be listened to, you will get empathy, your pain will be shared, your suffering recognized. Your mistakes and things you’re not very proud of will also be listened to without judgement but with respectful nudges towards change.

I felt very honored to sit with these guys and hear their stories. I think it was great for our non-Hispanic teens to hear all this. I think it maybe harder to drop little half-teasing racial slurs and tell racial jokes after seeing the pain and hearing the frustration from these guys.

If you have ears, if you listen, you can hear the Kingdom…

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~ by Rickard on March 22, 2008.

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